Now We See Now
Architecture and Research by The Living
David Benjamin; foreword by Paula Antonelli; essays by Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Eyal Weizman, Kevin Slavin, Sharon Johnston, and Mark Lee
Now We See Now chronicles the projects and findings of a firm that is charting bold new directions in generative design and other intersections of science and architecture.
In the context of massive and accelerating change–in technology, science, climate, and society–the nature of architectural design is also evolving and coming to life in new ways. New York-based office The Living has developed a unique design approach that explores projects through the application of new technologies, materials, and the growing field of generative design (design that uses software to emulate nature’s evolutionary processes). These methods are futuristic, even utopian, but also raw and immediate in their application of hands-on prototyping and testing through making. The Living addresses urgent issues through reframing design with today’s tools.
David Benjamin, founding principal of The Living, explains his methodologies through numerous projects and abundant research that are making real inroads to what is increasingly known as generative design. Benjamin executes numerous projects that demonstrate these surprising techniques, including the Princeton Embodied Computation Lab, a new building for research on next-generation design and construction technologies; Hy-Fi, a branching tower for MoMA PS1 made of a new type of biodegradable brick; and using principles of adaptive networks to prototype new structural dividers for Airbus that are nearly 50% lighter than traditional ones. Now We See Now documents this emerging body of work and points to new directions for an evolving discipline, surveying projects at a variety of scales for a variety for clients. For an era where rapid change is the norm, The Living demonstrates how future design practices can embrace uncertainty and generate surprising solutions to tomorrow’s challenges.
Praise for Now We See Now
"Hy-Fi—the 42-foot-tall tower of fungi-grown bricks that stood outside MoMA PS1 in 2014—remains emblematic of New York City–based the Living, the technology- and biology-forward practice led by architect David Benjamin. Yet, Hy-Fi is hardly the firm’s only project of note. Most recently, the firm designed a network of sensors in the East River (dubbed Pier 35 Eco-Park) that, if you signed up via text message, would regularly send updates on the river’s ecological health—including if fish were present near the sensors. The breadth of the Living’s projects and research are laid out in this image-rich tome that focuses on explaining the firm’s process and philosophy (sometimes with tech-y and academic inflections)."